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The USP Students Association (USPSA) in partnership with the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), as part of the USAID- funded Project Governance (led by the Pacific Community), is hosting a 2-day event on open data and open governance for Pacific Students and Youths.
The event will culminate in an idea generation session to discuss specific open data projects or initiatives that could be implemented by students, supported by a small grant’s competition (of up to US$5,000.00 each), where the top ideas will receive funding to implement their initiatives, with mentoring from Project Governance. Students will be expected to attend the full two-day event and will receive a certificate on completion.
Open data is one of the key enablers of good governance. It is an idea that data should be freely available to be used and reused, with the benefits of open data including increased transparency, accountability and the opportunity for effective and informed decision making.
THE PACIFIC CONTEXT
Promoting good governance has been a central priority for the Pacific leaders and the regions commitment on these had been first entrenched in the Biketawa Declaration over 2 decades ago. These commitments were further strengthened in the Boe Declaration of 2018 followed by the Teieniwa Vision in 2021 (Pacific Unity Against Corruption) and most recently in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific. The 2050 Strategy more broadly details the importance of open data and its relationship with governance: The Technology and Connectivity thematic area in 2050 Strategy draws attention to the importance of disaggregated data and data sovereignty and more detailed information for improved decision- making while ensuring that safeguard measures are in place.
To achieve the above, the strategy has proposed the following collective action:
Strengthen partnerships and regulatory arrangements to promote regional transport and ICT connectivity and increased regional cooperation, whilst respecting data sovereignty, in the collection, analysis and use of data and information to support effective decision making.
Given the Pacific regions increasing vulnerability to climate change related disasters, open data has become more important than ever in mainstreaming climate action and promoting a coordinated and coherent response to climate change across government and society.